Investigations into the Method of the Social Sciences with by Carl Menger

By Carl Menger

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Extra resources for Investigations into the Method of the Social Sciences with Special Reference to Economics (The Institute for Humane Studies series in economic theory)

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How obvious was the notion of applying these efforts to our field of knowledge! To become famous as a reformer of political economy there was scarcely need of anything more than a lively sense for the analogies of research. The reform of political economy in the previous conception of it was just as difficult as devoid of glory. The fame of a pioneer, a creator of new orientations of research, on the other hand, had come within reach with such a moderate expenditure of intellectual means. No wonder that among the truly scholarly economists of Germany the development of theory declined more and more.

I sought to clarify several obscurities and may have taken more barbarities perpetrated throughout the ages? The answer is common to most eighteenth-century philosophers of history-in this respect Turgot's concept is only one offshoot of a general theme. " Frank E. Manuel, The Prophets of Paris (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962), pp. 46-47. 20 ] I N T ROD U C T ION liberties with Menger's original than are warranted. Much as I have tried to remain within the framework of Dr. Nock's intentions as I understood them and much as I have tried to make changes in accord with the spirit of his work, I may not always have succeeded.

To be sure, in doing this men overlooked the fundamental difference between the formal nature of political economy and of those sciences from which basic principles, even results of research, were borrowed more or less mechanically. They failed in particular to recognize the real trend of that scientific movement which had altered jurisprudence on a historical basis. Rare misunderstandings, as I will prove, have played a decisive part in the reform of political economy by its German reformers. The new orientations of research were to no small extent the result of misleading analogies and a failure to recognize the true problems of political economy.

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